I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please”
Yeoo, standin’ at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride Standin’ at The Crossroads, I tried to flag a ride Ain’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by
Favorite album? I think the Robert Johnson album. I listen to that quite a bit still.
~Bob Dylan (Rockline Interview June 1985)
You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it. ~Keith Richards (about Robert Johnson)
“Cross Road Blues” is a blues song written and recorded by American blues artist Robert Johnson in 1936. It is a solo performance in the Delta blues-style with Johnson’s vocal accompanied by his acoustic slide guitar. Although its lyrics do not contain any specific references, the song has become part of the Robert Johnson mythology as referring to the place where he supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical talents
Sam John Hopkins (March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982), better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins, was an American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist, fromHouston, Texas. Rolling Stone magazine included Hopkins at number 71 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick opined that Hopkins “is the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act”
I came to Lightnin’ Hopkins through Townes Van Zandt and Justin Townes Earle (I guess he discovered him through Townes as well…). I was expecting something ancient, something old, but Hopkins sounds modern and his guitar playing is just out of this world!
Sometimes music hit you so hard you simply do not know what happened, Justin Townes Earle did just that when he covered the relatively unknown song, hell, he ripped through a rousing version of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ My starter won’t start (I been burnin bad gasoline). And suddenly I understood what/why Hopkins was held in as high a regard as he does! It was pure magic! (see own post)
March 11: Déjà Vu (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album) released in 1970
One of the most hotly awaited second albums in history — right up there with those by the Beatles and the Band — Déjà Vu lived up to its expectations and rose to number one on the charts. ~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)
If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.
— Bob Dylan
Chronicles: Volume One
“Come On in My Kitchen” is a blues song by Robert Johnson. Johnson recorded the song on November 23, 1936 at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas – his first recording session. The melody is based on the song cycle by the string band the Mississippi Sheiks, “Sitting on Top of the World” (1930)/Things About Coming My Way (1931)/I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone (1932)/Hitting The Numbers (1934).
Johnson’s arrangement on slide guitar (in open tuning, commonly thought to be open G) is based on Tampa Red’s recording of the same tune with the title “Things ‘Bout Coming My Way”. Tampa Red had recorded an instrumental version in 1936, and the song had been recorded earlier by him in 1931, and by Kokomo Arnold in 1935 (Tampa Red may in fact have been the first to use the melody with his song “You Got To Reap What You Sow” (1929) based on Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell’s version).
Johnson’s recording was released on the Vocalion label (no. 03563) as a “race record” – cheap records for the black consumer market. The song was among those compiled on the King of the Delta Blues Singers LP in the 1960s. (A slower alternate take was also later found and released on CD collections; this version also has ten extra lines of lyrics.)
“The Blues ain’t nothin’ but a good woman on your mind.”
~Mississippi John Hurt
No blues singer ever presented a more gentle, genial image than Mississippi John Hurt. A guitarist with an extraordinarily lyrical and refined fingerpicking style, he also sang with a warmth unique in the field of blues, and the gospel influence in his music gave it a depth and reflective quality unusual in the field.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)
One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.
I think that everything happens for a reason, everything happens when it’s going to happen.
…he’s often cited as punk’s most important ancestor. It’s often overlooked, though, that he’s equally skilled at celebrating romantic joy, and rock & roll itself, as he is at depicting harrowing urban realities.
Patti Smith inducts Velvet Underground Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1996 – Complete Speech: